The Florida Department of Education released the last batch of 2014 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test results today. The FCAT Math, Reading, and Science scores show just over half of Florida students passed the test, though there was overall statewide improvement.
The percentage of students passing in Grades 3 through 8 increased, on average, between one and two percentage points. But the trend was not reflected in the 8th grade math test results. The percent of passing students there dropped to 47, down 4 percentage points from 2013 and 10 percentage points as compared to 2012. Department spokesman Joe Follick says the numbers are deceptive.
“Fewer students are taking the 8th-grade FCAT math test, and those are students who are taking higher-level math exams in algebra and geometry,” Follick says. “It won’t be until we see the results from the algebra and geometry End-Of-Course exams next week that we would have a more full picture of how well students are doing.”
He says this was the first year school districts could choose whether to require both tests. The department’s Juan Copa agrees the lower passing rate is because of fewer kids taking the tests.
“Going back to 2012, we have about 30,000 fewer test-takers taking the 8th grade math,” Copa says.
However, Department of Education data shows nearly two-thirds of the 30,000-test-taker decrease occurred between 2012 and 2013. At the same time, the passing rate for the 8th-grade math test fell 6 percent.
This was the FCAT’s last year, as the state will administer a new exam better aligned with Common Core standards beginning next school year.
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart says school grades should be released in July.
The 2014 FCAT results are available here.